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A letter from Doug Tilton serving as regional liaison for Southern Africa, based in South Africa
April 2015 - A Shortage of Schools
Driving along the dusty route from Epworth, south of Harare, Zimbabwe, to Rock Haven Lay Training Center, one passes a score of large UNICEF-branded tents pressed up against the road. While hardly luxurious, the tents are an improvement on earlier shelters, cobbled together from bits of wood and canvas, that housed dozens of families evicted from neighboring farms during successive waves of land seizures and government “clean up” operations. Although the tents offer slightly more reliable protection from the elements, the families that live here have little in the way of access to other services—electricity, water, health and education.
It was in part because of the displaced households on their doorstep that the Harare Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP, one of Presbyterian World Mission’s global partners), which owns and operates Rock Haven, discerned a call to start a high school at the center. Rock Haven Academy opened last year with 4 teachers and about 50 secondary students—Forms One to Four in the parlance of Zimbabwe’s British-style educational system—preparing for the national ordinary-level examinations (“O levels”). This year the number of students more than doubled to 110. The school added a Fifth Form class—with plans for a Sixth Form class next year—to enable pupils to take the advanced-level examinations (“A levels”), which can be the gateway to university admission.Continue reading
A letter from Justin Sundberg serving in Nicaragua
April 2015 - “SCRABBLING”
Romans 8:26 “. . . the Spirit helps us in our weakness for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. ”
“Scrambling” describes our recent story well. Our Nicaraguan brothers and sisters scramble too, though with much more toil. Thank you for making it possible for us to live and work with these wonderful, but toiling, Nicaraguans, to serve as a bridge of relationship with you. Even on our most ragged and run-down days, we are carried by your love and support and thank God for you. Thank you so much for sharing so generously in our ministry.
But it’s “Scrabbling,” not scrambling, that is on my mind. I played a game of Scrabble yesterday with our eldest son, Jack. And then today some friends shared their approach to Scrabble—memorizing as many two- or three-letter words as possible, even if they cannot recall their definitions.
This Scrabble strategy is an apt metaphor for us. We piece each day together with words and growing relationships we don´t always fully comprehend. There are times, to be sure, when our contributions are more elegant or strategic, but we usually feel a sense of accomplishment when we can participate in life even in the simplest of ways.Continue reading
A letter from Jim McGill serving in Malawi
March 2015 - A Disastrous Flood
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Southern Malawi was hit by Tropical Storm Chedza during the week of January 16, which caused flooding that resulted in over 175 deaths and 336,000 internally displaced people (IDP). The rains affected a large part of the southern end of the country, including some lower areas of Blantyre where Michael and Jason are in boarding school. Although the flooding has indeed been disastrous, it has been wonderful to see how the body of Christ has responded and has been able to help the victims of this terrible flooding.
With a disaster of such magnitude, coordination of all of the groups wanting to assist becomes critical. The Malawi government is the lead coordinator and liaisons with organizations to ensure that the assistance is as effective as possible. The Actions of Churches Together (ACT) Alliance, a coalition of more than 140 churches and affiliated organizations associated with the World Council of Churches (WCC), facilitates cooperation and coordination of church-related assistance. Our church in Malawi, the Church of Central Africa, Presbyterian (CCAP), as well as Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) (http://pda.pcusa.org/situation/malawi-flooding/) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) are both members of the ACT Alliance. The Synod of Livingstonia (SoL) is the coordinating member for the ACT Alliance in northern Malawi and was involved in the relief work after the earthquake in Karonga in 2009. The Churches Action in Relief and Development (CARD) is the coordinating partner in the south, so they have been coordinating all of the church assistance for the floods.Continue reading
A letter from Amy Davisson Galetzka serving in Thailand
Quarter 1, 2015: January–March - Papers = Memories
Dear Friends and Family,
My first few months of the year included travel back to Thailand from Christmas and New Year’s with family in the U.S. Getting back into life in Chiang Mai is not difficult; it is very familiar, one of my ‘homes’ on this earth. I am thankful for my many friends in Chiang Mai, for our rental home that is a blessing, and at least in the first month or so, for good cool weather. I am thankful for the office I work in and for the many projects that we are privileged to support.
The days have gone by quickly these three months, but started out filled with papers. We are doing audits of the past five years of financial records of the charitable giving that has been done through our offices in Chiang Mai. The relief work in Burma is the bulk of the paperwork (receipts, reports, agreements, photos, etc.) and took most of the time preparing. After weeks (well, months actually) of preparation, and a stressful week of responding to the on-site auditors’ requests, we got through most of our goals and have reports on everything except one more year’s papers. After the office literally being difficult to walk through, looking at almost every paper (documenting expenses, income, etc.) and every receipt from the past five years made me nostalgic. It was just supposed to be technical double-checking, but I saw the handwriting of many co-workers who were amazing to work with but have since moved on to work in new locations. I was reminded of their care and the fun it was to work with them, even when we were doing things as tedious as some of the paperwork.Continue reading
A letter from Christi Boyd serving in Central Africa, based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
March 2015 - Training Women for Community Transformation, Niger
The serenity and meekness with which Rebecca Bara speaks about her ministry instills respect. With a master’s degree in theology and a track record of institutional development, her capacity to lead was recognized by the Evangelical Church of Niger (EERN). After a year of substituting for absent professors, the church offered her the position of Director at the Aguié Bible School. It is one of EERN's three institutes for theological formation that organizes a two-year program of pastoral studies for evangelists who have received their diploma at the Bible School of Dogon Gao or Guéchémé, served subsequently for at least three years in the field, and want to continue at a more advanced level following their call to the ordained ministry. Those sent to rural areas without an established church are usually called evangelists, the others pastors, but the terms are interchangeable. When talking about evangelizing, a holistic connotation is commonly implied.
As a highly qualified female theologian directing an institute that prepares candidates for ordination, Rebecca is in a rather unique situation, because the denomination itself doesn't consecrate women to the ministry. "I can't explain this,” she says, “but I do see it as coming from the Lord." She had been a secondary school teacher when she accompanied her late husband to the Central African Republic for a degree program at the Bangui Evangelical Graduate School of Theology. It was he who had understood her potential and encouraged her to study alongside him. After finishing her graduate studies, she created and led a school for pastors' wives who do not qualify for entry in the advanced theological program but need classes of their own while their husbands are in school.Continue reading
A letter from Luta and Jeremy Garbat-Welch serving in Malawi
April 2015 - Effective Initiatives
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
“I don't work in projects, I work in initiatives”; these were the words spoken to me (Luta) by Ms. Mphatso Nguluwe, director of the Livingstonia Synod AIDS Program (LISAP), a program of our church partner, the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP). As an AIDS program LISAP focuses on building community capacity—empowering communities to identify their problems, and then identify and initiate sustainable interventions to these problems. One such initiative is based in Karonga District where “kupimbira” is commonly practiced. Kupimbira is when parents arrange for their young daughters (as young as 7) to be married to older men in exchange for money, goods or to pay off an outstanding debt. Among other issues, kupimbira puts young girls at increased risk of HIV/AIDS. In 2009, when LISAP first entered the community, Ms. Nguluwe was told there was nothing she could do; other organizations had already tried and failed. LISAP approached the issue from an educational position—through many community meetings the community identified that the reason girls weren't in school was because of kupimbira.Continue reading
A letter from Amanda Craft serving as Regional Liaison for Mexico and Guatemala and Omar Chan serving in Mexico
April 2015 - Unexpected Gifts
Unexpected gifts: sharing ministry activities in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez
“Although it was a sunny day in Ciudad Juarez, the chilly air inside the cinderblock community center of Pasos de Fe made me shiver. The steamy cup of coffee in my hands helped a bit. However, it was the unexpected exchange between a group of adolescent boys from an impoverished community in Juarez and the PC(USA) General Assembly Moderator, Rev. Dr. Heath Rada, that really warmed the room. It truly is an honor to be part of how the Holy Spirit moves in this world.”—A reflection by Amanda Craft from the PC(USA) General Assembly moderator’s visit to Pasos de Fe, a Presbyterian Border Region Outreach ministry site
We were fortunate to host two very important delegations to El Paso and Ciudad Juarez to learn more about border ministries. The first visit was with a group traveling with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 2014 General Assembly moderator, Rev. Dr. Heath Rada. The second was with the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. (NCC). Several highlights stand out from these visits.
To begin with, we were invited to host the Radas, Heath and his wife, Peggy, through a visit of several sites in Ciudad Juarez. The general missioner of Tres Rios Presbytery, Rev. Dr. Jose Luis Casal, was instrumental in organizing the visit. Tres Rios Presbytery appoints representatives to the Pasos de Fe board. Jose, accompanied by his wife, Cecilia, with Rev. Dr. Dan Saperstein, co-leader for Mission and Partnership of the Synod of the Sun, and Bart Teeter, moderator of Tres Rios Presbytery, were also part of the visiting group. We discussed ministries along the border, historic and present, that have touched so many. It was not possible to talk about border ministries without noting the challenges this part of the world has experienced since the spike in violence since 2008 and the severed ties of the two national churches—the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico—in 2011.Continue reading
A letter from Jonathan and Emily Seitz serving in Taiwan
March 2015 - Lessons From Jonah
For Taiwan, Jonah makes for fun reading. Taiwan is an island nation. It is far and away the “fishiest” place I’ve lived, and daily I pass display tanks with shrimp, lobster, eel, crabs, clams, and other local delicacies. (I’ve heard that the Taiwanese language uses a dozen words to distinguish different types of seaweed.) Taiwan also sits between great empires (Japan, China), so the story of Jonah from little Israel going to the Assyrian capital city fits well. For pastors, Jonah is also a poignant figure. He wants to be faithful to God, and yet he finds that the mission God gives to him is exactly the one he does not want. He regrets not only going, but also succeeding in the work God gives to him.
There are five pastors in a small Doctor of Ministry class I am running this semester. The theme is “Jonah and Mission,” and the class is a mix of Bible, theology, and pastoral ministry. For 10 weeks we will gather on Monday mornings and work through the book of Jonah and a mix of writings about Jonah. The five pastors all have different backgrounds. One serves in Taipei and the rest come from the west coast or center of Taiwan. There’s a pastor who is Atayal (one of Taiwan’s indigenous ethnic groups). Almost all of them began their ministries 10 to 20 years ago, and they have a lot of experience. Most serve in small congregations, some with just a few dozen members. They all were excited for our first class and I think it will be a really good experience.
A letter from Ingrid Reneau Walls in the UK, on leave from service in Ghana
March 2015 - Turning my wrestling into waltzing…
Since last Fall I’ve been wrestling with time, seeking both to lengthen and widen it so that I could comfortably be and do all that is required of me to continue living life to the full as a 21st century mission co-worker. I’d returned to the UK from Ghana in October to be with Andrew, whose health had become a matter of concern. While awaiting his medical tests, we’d celebrated our first Christmas at home in Aberdeen, and then New Year’s with his children in Southampton. While still awaiting those medical tests, which we’d learn were now expected in about two months, we decided to return on Jan 7 to Akrofi-Christaller Institute (ACI) in Akropong, Ghana, for the spring semester of teaching and lecturing. It was an energizing start: teaching Academic Writing to an incoming M.A. class of 18 students, 4 of whom were women (an answered prayer to double the amount of female students on campus) and an M.Th. class of 6. There was also a three-day seminar on “An Introduction of the Life of Christian Scholarship,” facilitated by Andrew, which I co-facilitated. It was attended by most of ACI’s teaching staff and also staff from the three academic institutions that ACI is mentoring.Continue reading
A letter from Ryan and Alethia White serving in Germany
April 2015 - Annual Ministry Update, 2014
Celebration and New Beginnings
The Iranian new year, Nowruz, occurred on March 20, and we celebrated throughout the week with the church community and also with the larger Iranian community in Berlin. One evening a few days before Nowruz we joined a large, celebratory group of Iranians from all over the city for a pre–new year festival, Chaharshanbe Suri, or Wednesday Light. As darkness fell a row of small bonfires were lit and people took turns jumping over each one to symbolize leaving behind the less desirable aspects of the past year and welcoming the new year with hope. We especially enjoyed the traditional music, sweets, and mingling after the fires were extinguished. A few days later we gathered with the church community for a special dinner and service to welcome the new year together.
A few weeks before Pentecost the German congregation and the Iranian congregation had a joint worship service. Ryan preached on the role of prayer and the service was conducted in English, German, and Farsi. Hymns and worship songs from both congregations were sung. It was good exposure for everyone despite the linguistic challenges. As we saw barriers break down, small conversations happen, greetings, and friendly interactions as people reached out to each other, we were inspired and thankful. We have much to learn from each other.Continue reading
A letter from Myoung Ho Yang and Ji Yeon Yoo in the U.S. prior to serving in China/Hong Kong
April 2015 - Building Relationships
Before we came here we couldn’t expect that there is winter in Hong Kong. But there is! Of course we had no snow here and the temperature was not that low compared to the cold winter of the East Coast in the U.S. But it was cold enough to shiver, perhaps because of high humidity. Many students and professors, including me, suffered from flu this year. Finally spring has come and now is blending into summer.
Since we came here, every morning I have gotten up with thanksgiving and great expectation. I believe that it is God’s grace and will that I am serving here at this school. Our partner, the Divinity School of Chung Chi College, plays a very important role in training spiritual leaders of Hong Kong, China, and other Asian countries. While the population of Christianity in China is rapidly growing, there is a huge lack of theologically educated leaders. Thankfully, the number of students from mainland China is increasing every year at this school, which is the only institute where they can get theological education in Hong Kong. They have come from many different areas of China. Some of them will train church leaders while most of them will serve as local church leaders or evangelists as soon as they finish their studies.Continue reading
A letter from Sharon Bryant serving in Thailand
March 2015 - CVT Mission Stories
I have to chuckle at the ways of my God and King! How often does this Provider of all good things wait until the last possible moment to let me know that my prayers have been heard? More often than I appreciate, but I remain humbled and grateful.
The ecumenical and intercultural CVT Program (Christian Volunteers in Thailand) is always on the lookout for new people who are willing to commit two years of their lives to changing a small part of this world for the better. And we look harder at this time of the year, because the Thai school year begins in May and the private Christian schools of our partner church still desperately need those who are willing to teach English to Thai children. Last year, amid street protests and the coup d’etat, few people opted to come to Thailand, but, praise God, we seem to have turned the corner. In the first half of 2015 we will welcome five new CVT mission workers from four countries. What do these CVT mission workers do and how does their ministry change their lives and the lives of the Thai people here? Let me share some stories with you.Continue reading
A letter from Kate Taber serving in Israel-Palestine
March 2015 - Celebrating, Empowering Women
Dear friends and family,
March 8 was this year’s International Women’s Day. I have misgivings about such holidays. Here in Israel-Palestine, as everywhere, women are integral to every aspect of life in this society. Here, women run companies. Women create products. Women support families. Women manage households. Women grow crops. Women go to school. Women teach. Women work for the government. Women are in government. In light of this, and in light of millennia of patriarchy here and elsewhere, it seems problematic to pick one day to celebrate women. Isn’t every day women’s day? And will a day of celebration do anything to offset the oppressive systems that govern so much of women’s lives?
A local mission partner once told me that for her, advocacy regarding the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories was a women's rights issue. She said that women are disproportionately affected by conflict and too often sidelined from political decision-making. This is very true for Israel-Palestine. There are also countless local women working on behalf of women—for peace, wholeness, justice, and hope. My celebration of International Women’s Day was an exploration of this work. I hope to continue it all year.Continue reading
A letter from Leslie Vogel serving in Guatemala
march 2015 - making connections
Dear companions in mission,
It was early in 2014 and a sizeable contingent of our audience was running late. The Guatemalan speaker on the topic, “Mining Issues in Guatemala,” was more than punctual. As the liaison and facilitator for this particular meeting, I was anxious. Thinking from my own cultural perspective that “time is money,” and aware both that our guest speaker’s organization sometimes charges US$250 per two-hour session and that he was essentially donating his time to us as a favor to a mutual friend, I was even more anxious.Continue reading
A letter from Barry and Shelly Dawson serving as Regional Liaisons for Southeast Asia, based in Thailand
march 2015 - growing future leaders in myanmar
Dear Friends and Mission Partners,
Twenty-two years ago in a remote village in northern Myanmar a baby boy named Bawi was born into a Christian home. As he grew older his parents shared stories of God’s love with him and, as he told us, “I believed that Jesus is my Savior, and He died for me. I believed from my childhood, and I decided to serve God.” Like many citizens of Myanmar whose family roots are found in isolated hamlets and rural landscapes, Bawi’s parents could not financially support him to follow his call to Christian ministry. “But, I did not give up,” he says in a tone that reveals a resilient faith. “I prayed to God, and my prayer was answered to be able to study here. Sometimes when I face difficulties, I pray to God. I know that God can do anything.”Continue reading
A letter from Tracey King-Ortega serving in Nicaragua
march 2015 - using our voices
My one-and-a-half-year old twins still don't talk. There are a few words that only a mom can decipher, but those are pretty much limited to “agua,” “ball,” and “nana” (the latter meaning a variety of things depending on context such as banana, Grandma, and time to nurse. I'm not too worried—they've got a lot stacked against them in becoming verbal; being raised in a bilingual house, twins, and younger siblings. Surprisingly, though, they are incredibly good communicators. I've taught them some sign language, which they love to use. But it’s more their sheer determination that pushes them to be understood. It has to be hard not being able to articulate exactly what you want, always having to play a guessing game to eventually get a particular book or snack. The voice is a powerful tool, something we often take for granted, yet a gift with which we can do so much.Continue reading
A letter from Cobbie and Dessa Palm serving in the Philippines
march 2015 - Yavs discerning god's will
Discerning the Will of God as a Community
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
The room becomes eerily silent as brown envelopes are handed to each candidate. Some leave their chairs, while others just stay in place with a palpable air of nervousness and excitement. In a minute or two, presumably as each candidate opens the contents of their letter, distinctive sounds and expressions explode throughout the Eco-Center at the Presbyterian Ferncliffe Retreat Camp. Quite a few squeal in joy, higher-pitched than usual voices seeking to connect with other voices. There are a number in tears. A few are over the phone, sharing the news with their loved ones. This is the final night of our Discernment Process for the Young Adult Volunteer Program, when after a few days of prayer, site presentations, conversations, each volunteer is offered a placement in one of the many sites for their year of service. It’s a very intense and intimate moment, a moment that is both a culmination of a longer application process preceding this weekend, but also one that marks a beginning.Continue reading
A letter from Chenoa Stock serving in Bolivia
march 2015 - Annual ministry report, 2014: Faces of the year
“…Jesus set his face toward Jerusalem” Luke 9:51b.
As I write this we are just entering into Holy Week. We are walking the final path of Lent—a path of reflection and meditation that, through its darkness and discoveries, leads us toward an Easter of transformation and renewal.Continue reading
A letter from Dustin and Sherri Ellington serving in Zambia
March 2015 - Living 24/7 in a culture not her own
Dodging muddy puddles at 5:30 am, Hannah attracts a lot of attention on her morning runs through the community where she lives and teaches. For one thing, she’s a woman. For another, she is white. She’s also tall—over six feet. And she’s not on foot to actually go somewhere, but just to get some exercise. How strange! By the time Hannah finishes running, the sun is up, making her skin color all the more noticeable. “Mzungu! Mzungu!” she will almost certainly hear called at her by people enthralled at the rare spotting of a “white person” in Zambia—or at least in the poor urban neighborhood where Hannah lives.
Later the call-outs become more loving and personal, as she heads to her classroom to start the day. “Teacher Hannah! Teacher Hannah!” students may squeal. Unlike the early morning shouts, with these there is real affection; they come from children who actually know the mzungu in their midst, and love her, and know that she loves them.Continue reading
A letter from Amanda Craft serving as Regional Liaison for Mexico and Guatemala and Omar Chan serving in Mexico
March 2015 - Annual Ministry Update, 2014
2014, what a year to be involved in mission!
As Lent has arrived, we have taken time for reflection and retrospection. Part of that process has led us to also remember the many works that were achieved last year as Omar and I moved into two different mission co-worker positions. Our journey to our new life and call reminds us of Paul’s time in Tyre, from Acts 21:5-6, “When our days there were ended, we left and proceeded on our journey; and all of them, with wives and children, escorted us outside the city. There we knelt down on the beach and prayed and said farewell to one another. Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home.” Our current journey in Guatemala ended as we endeavored to begin different ministries. We had to say farewell to loved ones in Guatemala to start anew along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Here are highlights from 2014:
January – Omar moved into a new PC(USA) mission co-worker position as the Facilitator for Presbyterian Border Region Outreach (PBRO). He participated in World Mission’s orientation in Louisville, Ky., with other mission co-workers training to head out to international locations.Continue reading
A letter from Kristi Van Nostran serving in El Salvador
March 2015 - Conflict and Insecurity
Caution: Graphic content
Twenty-three years after the signing of the Peace Accords that marked the official end of 12 years of armed conflict that claimed more than 75,000 Salvadoran lives, there is yet another war being fought on the streets of El Salvador, and it has become increasingly difficult to identify the "good guys" from the "bad." And the worst part about it is that innocent families, and particularly young men, are caught in the crossfire both literally and figuratively every day. While I return each evening to a comfortable home in a secure and quiet San Salvador neighborhood, many of our Salvadoran partners live in fear, under conditions of a voluntary (and sometimes gang-imposed) curfew that they haven't experienced since the civil war. Others tell us that not even during the height of the violence in the 1980s did their communities feel so dangerous!
The family of my colleague, Doris, lives in a barrio of Cuscatancingo, a municipality just outside the San Salvador city limits—less than five miles from where I live. Theirs is an example of a community that has ping-ponged between gang and National Civil Police (PNC) control over the last year. We used to visit on Sundays and join Niña Angela for an afternoon treat of chilate (a simple corn-based hot drink flavored with allspice) and nuegados (fried yucca dumplings in sugar cane syrup), but I haven't been to visit Doris' mother at her home in over a year because of the situation of insecurity.Continue reading
A letter from Dennis Smith in the U.S., on Interpretation Assignment from Argentina
March 21, 2015 - Traditions and Progress
Our scheduled six-month sojourn in the U.S. is now at eight months and counting. It now looks like we’ll be here until June!
One of our goals for this sojourn in the U.S. was for Maribel to be naturalized as a U.S. citizen. Unfortunately, in our first six months here we received contradictory advice from official sources and so lost a good deal of time. Maribel is happy to report that now, finally, she is moving quickly through the process. She has had her “biometric” appointment (that’s what they call fingerprinting these days!) and is studying for her citizenship exam and interview scheduled for April 7. Then she’ll be sworn in as a new U.S. citizen and process her new passport. We’re anxious to get back to Buenos Aires!
We’re thankful that we were able to spend Christmas with family. I’m deeply grateful that I was able to accompany my brother in the last days of his battle with cancer, and then support my sister-in-law in making the necessary final arrangements.
We’ve also been able to renew friendships with many of our supporting churches. We’ve gallivanted from Oregon to Texas to Pennsylvania and have more church visits scheduled for April and May. Special thanks to friends at Highland Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, Pa., for loaning us a car through the end of April! How generous all of our supporting churches have been with their hospitality, and how encouraging it has been to be able to share our passion for God’s mission from their pulpits, in their Christian Education classes, breaking bread together with mission committees, and discussing mission partnerships with pastors. We are in conversation with three churches that are thinking about taking mission study tours to the Southern Cone in 2016. Let me know if you want to tag along!Continue reading
A letter from John McCall serving in Taiwan
Spring 2015 - THE ARTIST GOD
One of my major goals in my teaching here is to help my students and fellow pastors reclaim the imagination with which God has gifted them. Often their earlier educational experience has not encouraged these seminary students and pastors to dream and ponder and wonder.
So another faculty colleague of mine at Taiwan Seminary in Taipei and I decided to host a conference called “Serving the Artist God with Imagination in the Parish.” Our goal was not to shape painters and photographers and musicians (although if this happened, it would also be wonderful), but to help local pastors see and hear in a new way. Jesus seems to care a great deal about the way we see and hear. He is especially attentive to those who seem to think they can see clearly but are really blind. And he often asks, “Do you have ears, but fail to hear?”
In that beautiful story in chapter nine of John’s Gospel we see a man born blind who sees more and more clearly, and we see those in the center of religious power who become more and more blind to the grace in their midst.
God sets us in the midst of a marvelous world with geckos that sing in southern Taiwan and are mute in northern Taiwan. From our campus we see the crested serpent eagle soaring high above us and from that high distance can see a snake in the grass. We hear the unique call of the five-color bird that sings without opening its mouth. On the subway we see a variety of faces and ages and shapes and sizes. If we look, we can see Christ in these faces.Continue reading
A letter from Mary Nebelsick in the U.S., on Interpretation Assignment from the Philippines
March 2015 - Teaching So They Can Teach
Paul and I have had a wonderful time during this year interpreting our ministry to churches in the United States. We’ve been staying at the Furlough Home on the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary campus and have been busy visiting churches in Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky and Connecticut. Soon we will travel to Roanoke, Va., to meet old friends and make new ones. As an old saying goes, “Make new friends, and keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.”
While here in Louisville I’ve been reading about Presbyterian mission, especially about women in mission, and have learned incredible things. Presbyterian women have been active in mission from the 1820s onward and have gone to the ends of the earth to proclaim the peace of Christ. Some were married, yet many were not. Some went as medical doctors while others went as schoolteachers. One of the major foci of these women was the education of girls and women. By educating girls and women and teaching them to read the Bible they hoped to emancipate them from ignorance and lead them to become evangelists of biblical truth. Many of these schools became boarding schools and missionary women were soon responsible not only for educating, but also for feeding, clothing, supervising and evangelizing the girls under their care. Sometimes these schools began with two girls and sometimes with as many as six. But within 10 years of their founding most had grown and were well on their way to becoming as influential as their counterparts in the United States. Missionary women were incredibly influential in spreading the gospel through education, and Paul and I are proud to follow in their footsteps.Continue reading
Thank You and Your Family for serving God by taking His word so far from Your Home.
God is doing his work and using us a tools in other nations.during my working here in Athens i observed that there are many oppertunities to share the Gospel massage with other those do not know Jesus and we can bring them to Jesus Christ.Please prayer for me that i'm a very littel to that God is using me here in Athens Greece. God bless you.